Author(s): Muchadeyi FC, Wollny CB, Eding H, Weigend S, Makuza SM,
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Abstract The degree to which village chickens are integrated in the smallholder farming systems differs depending on the socio-economic, cultural and biological factors within each system. The objective of this study was to characterise the village chicken farming systems and identify possible threats to, and opportunities for, local chickens in the agro-ecological zones of Zimbabwe. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to households randomly selected from five districts, Risitu (n=97), Hurungwe (n=56), Gutu (n=77), Gokwe-South (n=104) and Beitbridge (n=37) in eco-zones I-V, respectively. Age of head of household averaged 47 years (SD = 14.3). Land holdings per household averaged 4.82 ha (SD = 3.6). Overall, 17.7 percent of the households ranked livestock as the major source of income compared to 70.8 percent who ranked crops as the main contributor. Chicken flock size averaged 16.7 (SD = 12.4), and the highest flock sizes were observed in eco-zones I and IV. Households owning cattle, goats and other livestock assigned less important ranks to chickens. Chickens were usedmainly for the provision of meat and eggs whilst the use of chicken feathers and investment were uncommon practises. Results indicate that more support is necessary for village chickens in the non-cropping regions of the country.
This article was published in Trop Anim Health Prod
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology